The moral of not judging others based on appearances is present in many fables, but is most recognizable in Beauty and the Beast, which was a Disney animated full-length feature released in 1991, adapted from the French faerytale La Belle et la Bete, by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve, published in 1740. One of Disney’s beloved faerytale released during Disney’s Renaissance Period.
I was introduced to the film because it’s Luna’s favorite Disney films, connecting with the adventurous, bookworm Belle. Very quickly, I was hooked to the wonderful songs, relatable characters, and a romantic faerytale. Yes, Disney’s The Little Mermaid, is my favorite but this film became a second favorite.
Beauty and the Beast Characters
Belle, played by Paige O’Hara, is the intelligent young woman who enjoys reading and is always seeking adventure. She is socially alienated by the village for loving books and refusing Gaston’s romantic advances.
Maurice, played by Rex Everhart, is Belle’s father and a kind-hearted inventor. He tries to comfort his daughter’s fears of social alienation by suggesting she spend time with Gaston, who he believes is a nice guy.
Beast, played by Robby Benson, short tempered, egotistic prince is cursed for turning a beggar away when seeking shelter from a winter storm due to her looks. Hopes that Belle will be the one to break his curse.
Gaston, played by Richard White, a young man who an arrogant, egotistic, and sarcastic constantly tries to flirt with Belle trying to use his looks. Plays the charming hunter to get her to fall for him and eventually marry him.
Lefou, played by Jesse Corti, is a young goofy, clumsy fool who is Gaston’s friend and right-hand man saying anything to please Gaston and hopefully earn his respect. His only loyalty is to Gaston and fears earning his wrath in questioning Gaston’s judgement.
Beauty and the Beast Plot
An arrogant young prince named Adam and his castle’s servants fall under the spell of a enchantress, who turns him into the hideous Beast until he learns to love and be loved in return. A young woman named Belle, enters the castle searching for her elderly father. She offers to take his place after he is imprisoned for trespassing upon the Beast’s castle.
Disney’s Live-Action Faerytale
In 2017, Disney applied a realistic approach to the beloved faerytale, by adapting Beauty and the Beast to live-action. Emma Watson stars as Belle, requested to modernize the character more by making her more of a feminist. Watson is joined by Luke Evans staring as Beast, Dan Stevens staring as Gaston, and Josh Glad staring as Lefou. Popular songs written by Alan Menken are reprised with new songs.
I personally preferred the Disney version when comparing it to the live-action version. I appreciate the effort to keep the structure of the story intact while modernizing it, but too much was changed. Changes were made to originally songs that were distracting to Disney fans. Not much was changed to the story, which was disappointing. I did enjoy the depth added to familiar characters.
I would give the film a nine out of ten rating for the memorable songs, strong and relatable characters, and the breath-taking scenery showcased throughout the film. To me, the outcome seems predictable. For a Disney film it ends happily ever after, plus the building romance has to paid off even if it seems to have occurred rather quickly between both characters.
Furthermore, with the addition of the live-action version, Disney was trying to populate the classic faerytale. Fans may prefer one version over the other, but neither can argue their appreciation for the tale that is old as time.